A Birthday Post + an Offer for You!

Ben had a birthday at the end of January, so I’ve been trying to think of what I’d like to write for his annual birthday post. (I don’t give my family cards, I just write them blog posts! The kids love to go back and read old posts.❤️)

This last year was full of a ton of changes for Ben, because it was the year he decided to finally take the plunge, and start the business he’s been dreaming about for years.

He went to Chicago for training in fall, and has been delving into coaching and consulting, using the Strengthsfinder leadership assessment tool. I’m fascinated with everything he’s been learning, and I love to hear about how this tool is helpful and eye-opening for anyone he coaches.

It’s also been amazing to watch him move into a better understanding of himself and what his own strengths are. The Strengthsfinder assesment clarifies the top five strongest abilities a person has from a list of 34 options. It’s amazing how identifying a person’s strengths can be used to move into greater clarity for how to approach pretty much any area of life.

Although I don’t know nearly as much about this fascinating tool as Ben does, I thought it would be fun to share what I love most about his top five strengths, how I see them play out in Ben’s everyday life, and how they impact our family in really beautiful, life-giving ways.

Here are his top five strengths:

Strategic:

  • Ben turns my thinking upside down with his ability to see things from different angles and a cost/benefit perspective. He is always thinking about the most effective way to do things, and how to get from where we are to where we should be going.
  • He is the best Costco shopper around. I haven’t gone grocery shopping on my own in YEARS. Like, over a decade. It started out because of my back/neck issues and I couldn’t push a cart, but we soon discovered that Ben is 200 times better at shopping than I am. A strategic shopper makes a happy budget.
  • When we are driving anywhere or planning a route through anywhere, Ben always knows the best way to go. It is just the way his brain thinks. My brain tends to saunter along. He guides me where I need to go!
  • Ben is always the person I want to talk to when I have a problem. It started even before we were dating. He has this amazing way of listening patiently, and then cutting through all the extra fluff, emotions, etc, getting right to the heart of the issue, and then leading me gently to the best possible solution.

Belief:

  • Ben has a deep integrity and desire for authenticity, which has shaped the core of our family. He has to be true to who he is and what he believes in.
  • He makes decisions slowly, because he sits with things for a long time, carefully determining how he feels about his options, and making sure they represent what is most important to him.
  • He always tries to say or do things that align with the deepest, truest part of who he is.

Self-assurance:

  • I’ve never thought about it specifically until now, but Ben’s self-assurance is a huge part of why things have just worked well in our marriage and family life. He gives great stability in new situations and provides a such a dependable solidity to everything, which serves as an anchor for our whole family.
  • As our kids figure out who they are and make sense of this world, I can see how Ben’s confidence and self-assurance gives them a sense of safety to draw from when they need it to come from somewhere outside themselves. He does the same for me all the time. When he is completely sure that everything will work out, and firmly believes we will have the strength to face whatever challenges arise, I start to believe it, too.
  • Even though Ben is a self-assured person, it never comes across as cocky or arrogant. It’s just a beautiful, solid, steadying force that grounds our family.

Futuristic and Ideation:

  • These are separate strengths, but Ben uses them together all the time, so I find it difficult to seperate them in my mind! Futuristic means visionary – Ben can see the end result clearly in his mind, and carries this positive, energetic force which propels him forward. Basically, I crave his energy. I live off it like a parasite.
  • Ideation is about getting a million ideas – Ben can come up with ideas for everything. When you combine his ability to see future outcomes with his endless amount of ideas, the result can be dizzying, in the best possible way. Ben could be the one prancing around singing “A Million Dreams” from the movie “The Greatest Showman”, because that is actually what his brain is like. And I am like Charity, along for the ride. It is always an adventure.

Starting his own business this last year has been such an important, significant step for him, because it combines every one of his strengths, all at the same time. I have loved watching him figure out how to draw on all his resources and put his dreams into action.

Wherever his dreams for this new venture will take us, I feel like this last year of his life will always be a significant one in our memories and in the direction we go moving forward. It has been an amazing experience to watch him push past obstacles holding him back, and draw on all of his strengths to rise up and make this happen.

I feel so proud of Ben for the ways in which he’s challenged himself and grown this last year, and for becoming a truer version of himself. It gives me joy to see him moving into greater freedom, and to have the opportunity and space to stretch out and use his greatest strengths and abilities. It’s been a year to remember, and I am excited to see what this next year of his life will hold!

*An offer from Ben:

When I told Ben that I was writing a Strengthsfinder post in honour of his birthday, he decided to offer any of my blog readers $100 off a coaching package! So if you or someone you know would enjoy exploring Strengthsfinder with Ben, check out his website over here, or email him at ben@canteraleadership.com.

(*Offer must be claimed by the end of the month)